Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's alive!!

Two weeks ago Emmalee came home from the cabin with her bugbox. In the bug box was one stick, one lady bug, one green leaf and the prize in the box was a big green caterpillar.

In the first night there were many changes in the box. The leaf dried out and rolled up, the ladybug died, and the caterpillar spun a cocoon!!  It is so cool how that thing worked overnight and spun a bunch of tiny fibers into a solid mass.

For two weeks the bugbox was the center piece of our kitchen table and we waited to see if anything would come of it. On Monday, as I was leaving for work, I noticed the bugbox was gone! I first assumed one of the kids took it but then noticed it was on the floor. The thing struggled so hard to get out it made the very heavy duty wooden box... okay so it was a cheap Target dollar spot box .... but still it walked it off the table. As all of this was happening Ryan came in all excited to see the beautiful butterfly that had emerged (because that's what Eric Carle says happens in his book) well much to his dismay it was an ugly brown moth laying belly up. I quickly informed Ryan that the moth had hurt his head when he fell from the table and was sleeping it off. I left for work with the intentions of dumping the box and making it look like I had freed the moth.

Well like any good overwhelmed mom I completely forgot about it until last night around midnight when Keith came running unto the bedroom to tell me the moth was alive and flapping. At first I thought he was just excited the thing lived but then realized no, he was really just scared of the flapping noise and the possibility of it getting out. I told him to cut the screen outside and let it go. Which he did... and he survived... I mean Keith survived and so did the moth.

When I left this morning it was still in the box, belly up, flapping away. So I shook it out of the hole and watched it lay on the patio table flapping. Three hours later when I got home it was gone so either it flew away, blew away, or something ate it.

Biggest lesson the kids learned? ... Not all caterpillars are beautiful butterflies and daddy doesn't like bugs.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

brain download

So I have a love hate relationship with the blog... I love to do it but I hate trying to find the time to squeeze one more thing into my day. Plus what should I blog about? work, kids, saving money tips, Disney? I really don't have a focus other then random babbles. So let's hit each topic listed above today and hopefully I can find a focus for next time!

Work: I am now working 3 jobs! Asst. Manager at Gymboree Rosedale, Youth Minister for Spirit of Hope, and Youth Minister for St. Anne's. This really fills up my calendar fast!

Kids: Both Ry and Em are playing t-ball and Grandpa is coaching them. This fills on Monday and Tuesday nights with fun! Ryan is really into Lego and got to attend his first Lego club last weekend. Em is her lovable self who never seems to surprise me.

Saving money: Well that comes down to two things. Craigslisting our old stuff and shopping at rainbow. We save at least 40% on food by doing double coupon dazes.

Disney: My beloved place. There are so many new and wonderful things going on at both DL and WDW this summer I try not to read to much into it. I have a few friends planning trips right now which is always super fun for me.

okay so this entry is really boring and not exciting or funny at all... I will try better next time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No Emmalee!!

Today has been one of those days where I wish I had a snowbank to put Em in... or at least it would stop raining so she could run around in the back yard.

It started with her screaming to wake me up and it hasn't stopped!

First she got made at YouTube because the screen saver came on during her show so she kicked my laptop to the floor... Keith is letting me use his while he runs the 6th "fix-it program" so far it isn't fixing it.

Then she got mad she couldn't go outside so she kicked off her shoe and hit the lamp which created a chain reaction of things falling over but thank God my hutch didn't break.

So far the last victim of her day was my plant that lost a few branches to the ball she managed to kick to the ceiling and back down right on top of it.

The day is almost over and I go back to work tomorrow. I have never been so happy

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Where have you been?

I had stopped blogging because life got so busy but I have found I really miss it. So let me give you the quick update...

Emmalee is still her sweet little self who really only likes to were three things: jammies, swimsuits and sundresses. Not much is new with her other then she has no fear. I am sure by the end of summer I will be blogging about her ER visit.

Ryan has picked up on reading and can't get enough. If you happen to see him ask him about the Very Hungry Caterpillar and he will recite the whole book for you. We recently had Ry's IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting and everyone is torn if he should go to K next year or first grade. The more I think about it I think K.

Keith is still working from home and loving that he can have his daily run to the lake. He has also picked up many computer side jobs via craigslist and my new ministry adventures!

This month marked one year of no full-time employment for me but then in the same week that I got approved for another 6 months of unemployment I was hired as the full-time assistant manager at the Rosedale Gymboree and was hired as a part-time youth minister for St. Anne's Church in Sunfish Lake. I am also still the part time youth minister at my church, Spirit of Hope.

As you can see we are staying busy but we were able to get away for the weekend and head up to the cabin. This weekend Em caught her first fish and Ryan found BEAR POOP in our yard!

Happy Mother's Day to all. I am truly blessed with all God has given me as a Mother.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

how do you know this stuff?

It has been brought to my attention (by Kris and Julie at work) many times that I know random things that no one else knows... or really cares about so I thought I would make a list of a few of them.

1. If you shoes or boots (uggs) stink freeze them. By freezing them you kill all the bacteria.
2. if you put a dry sheet in your pocket not only will you smell good, no flying bug will come by you because it makes their wings not work. (great for flies at the statefair! or mosquito's in the summer! )
3. If you have food stuck on your pans (even after it has been in the dishwasher) soak it over night with warm water and a fabric softener sheet. The anti static will make the food come loose. In the morning grab a new sheet and wipe all the food away.
4. If you are cold change your clothes...esp your undies. Your clothes hold moisture that can control your body temperature. Never wear anything you wore all day to bed.
5. In the winter you lose 50% of your body heat out of your head... so wear a hat!
6. When you are over heated run cold water over the veins in your wrists... having the cold blood run through your body will cool you down.
7. put a dyer sheet in your suitcase before you store it. it will not get musty.
8. clean your shower walls and doors with a dryer sheet to get rid of soap scum.
9. Speaking of dryer sheets... did you know a 1/2 of sheet does the same amount of work as a whole one.
10. one more use for a dryer sheet.... when you get new blinds, TV, or computer wipe them down with a dryer sheet. It will eliminate static and stop dust from settling on the item.
11. rub wax paper on your closet bars to stop the annoying noise and make the hangers move smoothly.
12. If you have a gift receipt with only a few of the items from your original transaction you can still use that receipt for anything from that transaction even if it is not printed on the receipt.
13. Most stores can look up your purchases using your credit card or bank routing number off a check. That way if you lose your slip you can still get back what you paid for it.
14. your deodorant also works as a chaffing cream / stops chaffing.
15. American girl has a huge sale twice a year. Learn about it here:
16. If an airline changes your flight time you can pick any other time during that day and no fee will be added. aka when booking with air tran book the cheapest flight. Then when they change your time switch to the direct flight that is more expensive for no added fee.
17. 1/2 cup of vinegar  in your load of whites makes your whites super clean.
18. For a clogged or slow drain pour a box of baking soda in then a bottle of vinegar and watch it bubble away.
19.... okay I had a bunch more but my computer "updated" and I lost a bunch so here is your first batch.

Feel free to add your own! or do like Julie and just ask "Do you know....."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Food Revolution

I don't know if any of you have seen the new show on ABC called Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution but I am in LOVE with this show. If ever there was a TV show that was screaming at me this is it. The show has been at an elementary school showing what the kids eat and it is all high fat processed food. I am happy to say for all of my years in school I was a "hot lunch kid" and Ryan thus far has been the same. Ryan is even lucky enough to have free breakfast everyday. Although after watching all of this I wonder just how lucky we really are / were.

On Saturday's show they showed how a chicken nugget is made... YUCK (I think I might have puked a bit in my mouth) All the leftover chicken parts and fat in a blender then covered in more fat to hide the bloody chunks inside. I am going to have a hard time ever feeding my kid's their favorite meal of nuggets again.

There is a family they are following that only eats processed foods, fast foods...etc. and they never cook. This week they went to the doctor to learn the real state of their health. WOW ... they are a really sick family. As I watched I saw so much of myself. Let me be real honest for a minute. I don't cook. Why don't I cook? it use to be because of my job. Working  70 hours a week just didn't allow time for it. Then I became this coupon crazy girl. Have you ever seen a coupon for free fruit or veggies? Which I admit I love coupons, and free stuff, but I think it is time I really start looking at what we are eating and take a little bit better care of ourselves and our children.

Tonights dinner:
Chicken Breasts on the grill
frozen mixed veggies (that I got for free)
frozen dinner rolls (that I got for free)
1% milk... I am trying REALLY hard to give up 2%
Oh and a few chips for the kids so they don't die on the first night of new dinners. :)

We will see how long I can make this last!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


As you read a few posts back I have be come a fan of coupon's but I don't use all of them. An example would be diapers or denture paste. Last night I had this great idea of coupon circles. Here is my thought.

If I clip the coupons I will use and keep them but then cut every other coupon I won't use and I send it on to the next person they would take out what they would use and add what they would not use. (They would also have to take out and toss anything that had expired). If there was a circle of five people and each sending to the same person each week you would get a new envelope every week and could really help yourself as well as others.

Does this sounds crazy? Does it sounds like a lot of work? Should there only people people from your area in your circle? Or people from all over so you would get different coupons? Would you want people at different stages in their lives to be in your circle? (so the diaper and denture coupons both get used) If I organized it I would start a whole new blog dedicated coupon circling but before I do that I want to know if people would join in? So give me your thoughts????

Thanks for reading!


Monday, March 22, 2010

How Do You?

Ryan's new favorite question is "how do you spell..." or "How do you read..." and Emmalee's is "how do you write...?" I love that both of my kids love school, however do you know frustrating it can be?

It is frustrating to me because let's be honest... I use spell check and I can't spell 1-800- ask- Gary. I get to 1-8-0 ... and Ryan screams ''SPELL it!" Suddenly we are both frustrated and neither of us is understood.The same thing happens if I read a book and change the words or skip a few. I am not sure if he has memorized the book or does first letter reading as I read. Either way he is learning and that is the ultimate goal.

Emmalee on the other hand wants to do everything Ryan does but doesn't have the skill level. This morning she was coloring and said I can make a circle but my triangle is wrong, fix it. I grabbed the crayon and drew a new triangle and then was told ''no not like that!" I guess it wasn't perfect. Her other huge frustration is her name. She so badly wants to write her name but when I make connecting dots for her she gets very upset when her lines aren't perfect. Wait till she has to write Emmalee Elizabeth Hochschild, I think her perfectionism will fade away. Sadly she has a whole year to wait till she can go to school, but thankful that means she has another year to practice that long name before she gets to school.

The main thing I have learned is that I would fail horribly at home schooling!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Fever!

Today is the first day of spring and I think the kids have internal clocks to remind them that they should now have spring fever. From the moment Ryan got up this morning all he could talk about was going to grandma's today to play with his cousin outside. Where he got this idea I have no idea. When my eyes were fully open and Emmalee was screaming "me too! me too!" I called grandma to see what her plans for the day were. Just my luck they were going to drive up to Cabella's and would gladly take the kids with to see the fish. SCORE! This was perfect seeing I had to work today and Keith needed to go to Rainbow for double coupon day. Grandpa and Grandma had so much fun with the kids at Cabella's they also took them to Stride Rite and Crocs for new shoes... I think they had spring fever too! Just as I got home from work the kids came home happy as could be and a bit tired, but there was no way they could nap they just had spring fever in their pants. After eating for an hour and bouncing around Ryan announced "ah, hey, guys, I have a very important message for grandma, can we call her?" I dialed her up and about 30 seconds into the conversation Ryan says "so, um, do you think we can have a sleepover?" and with those words Em came flying out of somewhere screaming "I sleepover too?" of course grandma and grandpa jumped on the opportunity for a sleepover and Keith and I have jumped on the opportunity to watch New Moon.

I will update you tomorrow on how late into the night their spring fever lasted... I just hope it doesn't last longer then a few days.

Happy First Day of Spring!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ryan's best day of the year

If you ask Ryan what today is he will tell you "It is St. Patrick's Day but really it is the best day ever because it is GREEN DAY! I thought you all might enjoy seeing what Ryan looked like when he cae home from school today. Oh and Happy Green Day!


The "beech"

Emmalee has been "at the beach" everyday for about two months. No, not the real beach, rather, our living room floor. While most kids are wearing clothes, or even jammies she prefers her swimsuit, or as she calls it her "swimming suit" She has been known to lay on the hardwood floors and slide her body across the floor and tell you "I swimmin" A few weeks ago she hauled her body pillow out of her room and now uses it as a air mattress so she can float at the beach. Today we added sun glasses, a sun hat and with the breeze coming in from the open windows and doors she truly believes she is at the beach. Now if she starts hauling in sand from the sandbox the beach will be shut down, but until then I will play along and dream I too am at my favorite beach, Sanibel Island.

Monday, March 15, 2010

So what if we take the bus?

Today after school Ryan and I were watching our favorite Disney video's online. We were in the middle of  "A Model Day at Disney'' when Ryan looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said "If we take the bus and not the airplane can we live there forever?'' Oh, how I wish it was that easy.

Please check out our favorite video

goal for the week is to attempt to insert pictures and video's on the blog.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another savings tip...

A couple of times this week people have asked me "how do you know where the deals are" so I thought I would jot down some of the basics.

I highly suggest opening up an email account to be used just for sign ups. Then go to all your favorite stores websites and sign up for their emails. Go to free coupon sites, sweepstakes sites etc. By having a separate account you don't have to read them all day everyday they can be there when you need to shop for something.

Before you buy online google search the stores name and then "coupon code". Often you can find coupon codes to apply to your order.

Also before you buy anything "froogle it" go to Froogle is a search engine owned by google  that will find you the lowest price on an item.  Once you have froogled do the tip before this one to get an even lower price.

Check the thrift stores first! Goodwill gets all of Target's "leftovers" and if you are in southern WI they also get Johnson and Johnson's seasonal items as well. In MN we are lucky to have a goodwill outlet where everything is 1.29 a pound. Another one of my favorite chain thrift store's is Unique Thrift and Ark Value Village. If you have never been thrifting what are you waiting for?

Ask stores when they get in new stuff or what day is mark down day or what day sales typically start on. It never hurts to ask.

Well, I hope you learned something new and it will save you a little green!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I have a question... or two... or 100!!

In the last week Emmalee has found her voice and become extremely inquisitive. Let me run you through the first five minutes of my morning.

I wake up to "Mama is you sleepin?'' ... "You gonna get up?"... "You help me?" ... "Where is my blanket?" ..."Where is my juice cup?"...  "You fill my purple juice cup?"...

At this point I know I have no chance so I open my eyes and it continues.

"You awake now mama?"... "You come down stairs?"... "Where is Simba?"... "You go first?"... "No, I go first"... "You get new jammies?"... "You like my jammies?"... "you like my jammies?' ..."Where is Ryan?"... "Is Ryan at school?'... "Where is daddy?"... "Is daddy waiting for the bus?"... "You workin today?"... "I go potty, you go potty too?'' ... "Whatcha doin?" "You do it by yourself?'' "I help you" "I gonna have a drink?" "Where is my blanket?" "put it in my hair?" "it from your hair?" I would love to tell you what other questions she asks but after the first five minutes I start to glaze over and turn into the uh huh mama. You know, the mom that just says "uh huh" no matter what you ask.

It is a mystery how she hasn't lost her voice or run out of questions, but I guess it is just one more reason why she is special!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not in jail...YET!

So today was the big hearing at the juvenile detention center. It turned out to be a meeting with other parents as well from all over. The meeting was at 1:30, I got there at 12:45 with the hopes of explaining my case and getting out of there. Well I made it through security and learned the "welcome" desk was closed until 1:00pm. Some welcome they give you! So I stood in the 10x10 space between the metal detector and welcome desk. Then at 1:05 this boy, maybe 21, shows up at the desk who of course past judgment on me and said "Oh, your kid doesn't go to school" I wanted to say "none of your bees wax"... in adult words, but instead I said "no his absences where not recoded properly". I could tell by the level of his nose he didn't buy it and by his clothes and wrist flicks I could tell he was much better then me on the social scale. Anyways, I figured out the gold signs on the wall saying this way matched the color of my sign in sheet and figured I could follow the gold paper trail and find out where I was going. As I walked away the bright boy says "but I didn't tell you where to go" my reply "no need to, your amazing color coding gave it away" Not sure if crushed him by taking a way his one task of the day or thrilled him because someone respected the time and effort he put into color coding.

I found the room and the St. Paul schools rep was there with a print out of Ryan's absents. As I compared them to the emails I had that I had sent to the teacher there was only one that should have been excused that was marked unexcused but no matter what there were only 7 days (from our Disney trip) but the list said 14. When I asked why I was told "Oh, must be a computer glitch" gurrr whatever. I am here, I put $2.00 in the meter, once those two bucks are up I am out of here!

At 1:36 there were 6 parents each one bitching for their own reasons. "My kids had his tonsils out" My kid had H1N1" "my kid doesn't like to get out of bed and then misses the bus, and I don't have a car." I am not sending my kid when it there is that much snow, roads are bad, or it is below 0". By 1:45 I think we were up too about 20 and by 2:00 when it was over I think we had 24... humm wonder why they get their habits from?

Anyways, we were in a room that had a vent to the room next door that was doing a courtroom training. It was very interesting to listen to when I first got there but then just as our speaker started they were done for the day and made a ton of ruckus. So much so I can't tell you what the first 10 minutes where about between the loud noises and the newbies coming in.

Here are the basics.
1.K is optional but if you decide to register your child you have to follow the rules of 7 years and up.
2. Also if you sent your kid to 4K they must go to K.
3. If your child has "too many'' (no number was given) absents or unexcused absents you get turned into the system... which is why we are there.
4. If you need help getting your kid to school pick up the welfare packet at the door. Or go to a non-neighborhood school so you get free busing.

Now that you are "in the system" What does that mean?
you can never go back and start over. From grade k-12 you can go through the steps ONCE.
1. attend this meeting
2. attend a one on one meeting with the Ramsey county D.A.
3. first apprance before a judge for "education neglect"
      a. fine of 300.00 or
      b. 30 days in jail or
      c. Child protection involvement instantly
4. Child prtection brought in
5. child(ren) taken away

I left feeling very frustrated and like I needed to see someone at Como ASAP. I went right up to school and when I got to the office the lady  tried to call the truant officer but she didn't answer her phone so then she asked "who is your child and what grade?'' As soon as I said "Special Ed" she said "Oooooohhhhh you have to go down to the special ed office" THIS IS THE PROBLEM 2 offices, 2 sets of rules, and (as I learned) 2 different ways of taking attendance. So when I got to the special ed office I explained where I had just been and I showed the emails I had explaining the absents and then questioned how 7 days can be  14 unexcused absents and how 3 excused can be 6? Well because many kids in special ed have doctor appointments and some in the autism classes can't do full days of school  they do attendance like this: 8:05-8:20 tardy, 8:20-11:00 absent AM, 11:00-2:35 absent PM. So if you are out for a full sick day  it shows up as two days. BUT the truancy lady wouldn't know that because she isn't  to be having anything to do with special ed kids. We are NOT to be calling the main office hotline when Ryan is sick. We are to be calling the special ed office or E-MAILING THE TEACHER!!! Yes, just like I had been all along! Are you wondering how I stayed calm or left any of my hair in my head? ya... me too! Anyways she made all the changes, said she was sorry I had to go to the meeting but she couldn't change what "step" we were on. Then she said normally you have to have 20...yes 20 unexcused days to go to those meetings and if they know you were on vacation or had funerals they don't count them. So we have 7, from Disney but we got to go! I really think Lucky is tattooed on my ass and I just can't see it!

Overall I am still mad because we get to deal with this for another 13 years after this year. (Ryan is going main stream K next year) I also want a meeting with the asst. principal (principal is ESL, Hmong) because the way the truant officer talked to me was unacceptable. 

Hope you had a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Give a day... get a Disney day

It was announced today that this program will be coming to an end most likely at the end of the week if you were planning on getting a free ticket to be used by the end of the year you better register VERY quickly. In the blog below you will see the latest Disney deal.

Disney World this summer... kids stay, play, and eat for free!!

Disney is not in the near future for us but I thought I would pass along the AWESOME deal I found!

Dear Parents:

If you have ever thought about taking your kids to Disney World over spring or summer break now is the time to act! Here is the best deal I found: 

Next book a 4-night/ 5-day or longer Magic Your Way package  that includes room, theme park tickets and the Quick-Service Dining Plan, AND a child (ages 3-9) can stay, get 5-day theme park tickets and the Quick-Service Dining Plan for FREE!

Note that children ages 3-9 normally stay for free in the same room with their parents, so that is no savings. However, the savings on theme park tickets and the dining plan can be substantial, particularly if you have two adults and two children in the correct age range. 

You must book by 4/24/10. The number of packages available at this rate is limited. Child must stay in room with adult. Tickets are for one theme park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. Maximum of four guests per room. 

So how much are we talking?
If you stayed at a value resort (POP Century is our favorite) about $120.00 a night during summer ($480.00)
2 adult park passes are about $460.00
If you fly into Orlando there is free magical Express transportation from the airport to your resort. (no car rental needed) 
2 adult quick service meal plans  $320

If you don't already have a Disney Visa both you and your spouse apply for one and viola there is your fun spending money for the trip  $100.00 (free $50.00 gift card for applying)

So for less then $1300 you have  a wonderful cheap vacation. All you need to add is airfare and if you fly our of MSP  I suggest Air Tran for their $89.00 each way airfare. 

Have a magical Disney day! 

DISCLAIMER: Planning cheap Disney trips is my passion if your planning on going let me know. I am sure I could save you some money or give you a tip to make your trip extra magical. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where did you get that?

Friday night Ryan spent the night at grandma and grandpa's and when Emmalee figured it out she demanded her sleepover night too. So Saturday night both kids spend the night. Keith and I had a great night of listing their old clothes for Munchkin Markets. I know so romantic! Anyways, this morning I had to work at 10 and was not sure what time the kids were coming home so I called around 9:00am and learned they had slept in and Ryan was still sleeping. Why they can't do this at home? I have no idea. Grandma informed me they were going to hockey at 1:00pm and they would drop the kids off after. Nice!

On my way home from work at 7:30pm I called my mom to see how the day went and her first words were "oh, we miss them so much." She then continued on to tell me how funny Emmalee is. You see at the hockey game there was a candy crane. You know the thing that cost 50 cents for a chance to win a piece of old stale candy. Anyway, Em decided the candy was free for her. She stuck her head in the drop slot and  then reached her hand up inside the machine and pulled out a sucker. After a few minutes she was tired of the sucker so she crawled up again to the point of only seeing her plumbers crack while she pulled out some off brand candy she didn't like. The next 3 pulls were great she got a small plastic horse, butterfly and frog.  Being as loving as she is she was kind enough to ask grandpa and Ryan if they wanted anything, like it was her personal store.

As my mom told me this story all I could think of is "oh, em you never seem to amaze me"

PS... stealing is not part of 20/20 haha

Saturday, March 6, 2010

bulldog bull

As I write this many of my high school classmates are attending a fundraiser to try and save our high school. A few weeks ago it was formally announced that St. Bernard's high school will be closing after this school year. I have sat back and read the good, the bad, and the insane but I have to write a few of my thoughts somewhere so here goes...

If you really think this problem just started dream on! If you really think you can raise one million dollars ... and then get donors to commit to giving for years to come your dreaming... and if you think Pohlad and Nassaf will bail out SBH like they did Agnes you really are crazy!

I have worked in the Roman Catholic church for seven years. When something is decided they don't go back. They decided to pull the loan. Meaning SBH had to pay it up right now or close. Plus all the daily expenses the Arch has been paying for. There is no possible way for them to raise enough money to pay the loan, pay salaries and promise there will be givers in the year ahead.

I feel sorry for all the staff, students, and families that have kids in the school right now. I also feel bad for anyone who has donated money to the school in the last few weeks, or during the phone-a-thon. Way to send the money out of the north end and right up the hill to all the men waiting to laugh in your face!

Good bye SBH.... as someone suggested... You would make a great lightrail stop or senior housing location. No matter what the outcome... I hope the Church of St. Bernard can remain open and do the community some good with the building.

Friday, March 5, 2010

And we're OFF....

I have been working a lot lately and mostly the 1-9:30pm shift meaning I don't see Ryan much. When I realized Ryan didn't have school today and I was not working I begged... okay asked... Keith to take the day off so we could all do something together. I didn't have to ask twice and he said I am not working Friday... WOO HOO.

A few weeks ago my good friend Angela told me the MN science museum membership paid for itself in two visits (If you are on state insurance or reduced school lunches you get it 1/2 price and it pays for itself in one visit) and you not only get to see the exhibits but you get to see an omni show each time you go. We went a few weeks back and the kids had a blast. It has been a great place for the kids and Keith to go when I am working long weekend hours. When we learned we could also get a children's museum membership at a discount because we had a science membership we also jumped on that opportunity. (This was not part of 20/20 but rather... mission: hello tax return haha)

Yesterday it was decided we would visit both musuem's today and to make the day even more excited Dylan, my 6 year nephew,  would join us.

The plan for the day was.
1. Pick up Dylan at 8:30
2. Stop at the Science Museum at 9:00am and get tickets for the Elephant Omni show at 2:00
3. Go to the Children's Museum for the morning
4. Have lunch at McDonald's by the Children's musuem
5. Go to the Science Musuem for the movie and maybe some exibits
6. Dinner
7. Boys high school hockey games

Of course it didn't go like that...

The day started at 6:15am with Ryan coming up in our bed saying "good morning guys, it is museum day. I am already dressed so you need to get up." I informed him the sun wasn't up yet so it was time to cuddle. I also successfully got him to go back to sleep until 7:30am when Emmalee joined in the fun and she informed Ryan that the sun was up and mom was "kiddin" We all got up and got ready. We picked up Dylan by 8:45 and got Keith dropped off at the Science Museum door, only to learn the box office opens at 9:30 so we decided to risk it. We got to the Children't Museum and were met by multiple groups and buses. We started on the top and it didn't take long to find the crowds. We made it though the ant tunnels and the dino exhibit before my patience was wearing thin with the unchaperoned children and the chaperone talk circles with their backs to the kids. Although the mom that backed into the emergency exit and set off the screeching alarm was my breaking point and our que to get out of there. We headed down to the works room and we didn't last long down there and Ryan was asking to leave. We quickly stopped by the bus and the post office for a bit of play before leaving. Thank God we had a membership so I didn't feel like I was stuck there in the sea of name tagged kids with colorful t-shirts! After just an hour and a half we were out of there! We got to the Science museum and the kids were hungry so we headed up to the cafe. Everyone enojyed a slow enjoyable lunch with a couple of bathroom breaks. Everything was great until just before we were going to leave the table. Ryan shoved way too much food in his mouth and started choking, something he has been doing quite a bit lately. To be able to breath he ended up puking all over the carpeted cafe floor. I guess you could say we left our mark!

Next up we hit the musical stairs with the hopes of getting rid of some of the hyper bugs that had invaded our pants however it was obvious the kids were getting tired. We visited the Dino's, the sneezing girl, and the hand with the sores on it (Ryan's favorite exhibit) before hitting the snack counter for an ice cream sandwich... I could have bought 3 boxes for what I paid for 3 sandwiches but it got the kids to sit and relax a bit before we had to stand in line for the movie. At 1:30 we got into the que and thank God we did. Four school groups came in right after us. We were pushed like a herd of cattle but were able to sit third row from the top, center, in a sold out show. Everyone enjoyed the elephants and about three minutes into it Ryan claimed "this is awesome!" Then when the stampede took place he couldn't hold me tight enough or get out the words "this is scary" out fast enough. Just as the movie ended and went silent Emmalee felt the need to announce to everyone "we go to hockey now"? Well, hockey didn't happen because as soon as we got home she fell asleep and grandma called and asked the boys if they wanted to have a sleepover. It should be the easiest sleepover grandma has ever had, the boys were exhausted!

My house is a mess, I need to get stuff listed for Munckin Market but for today I accomplished the one thing that trumps everything else. I spent time with my family and made memories that will last for ever.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I got bugs! ...ladybugs!

Saturday when I got home from work Ryan informed me that "lady bugs were making a nest in his ears and it hurt really bad" of course priority peds closed 20 minutes early which meant Children's hospital  here we come. I felt blessed to see there was only one child waiting in the waiting room and Batman was on the TV. Score! Ryan didn't care about the blood pressure machine, or taking 5 syringes of meds as long as he could see Batman. When we got into our room about 10 minutes later it was like a mom's heaven. Nice dim lighting, clean and sterile with an over stuffed relining rocking chair. When the nurse said I will be right back with a movie for you to watch while you wait I thought I had died and gone to heaven and suddenly I didn't care how long I had to stay. All though when 45mins hit Ryan and I where ready to leave and find dinner and our beds. It was about 9pm by the time we got out and I knew I had to fill his prescription. At this point I didn't care who filled it or what the cost was. I knew CVS was open 24/7 and I could get him the Hersey bar I promised him.  So CVS filled all of our needs and I didn't have time to look for coupons or deals.

Now me on the other hand... over night last night I got an ear infection. I went to the doctor and he sent the prescriptions to Rainbow Foods (6 prescriptions gives you a gift card) but they didn't have the 4.00 prescriptions so I asked the lady to transfer it to target who not only had 4.00 meds but I remembered reading this week they had a coupon for a 10.00 gift card with a new prescription fill. Of course when I got there they didn't have any coupons left so I went up to customer service where the nice lady found me a coupon from the ad n her drawer. So I left with 3.09 off brand sudefed, a 4.00 prescription and a 10.00 gift card for target.

So before you fill your meds call around. Target and Wal-Mart both have 4.00 meds and often there are coupons out there for free gift cards. Plus, Rainbow is always running their 6 fills and you get a gift card. 

Now hopefully all of the prescriptions will work and we will all be better very soon.

Quote of the day from Ryan: "There are ladybugs making nests in my ears and lady's don't belong in boys ears because they are girls!!"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And the Grand Total is...

Here is what my Rainbow receipts for today look like:

2@.99 white bread          1.98    reg price 3.50  
savings 1.52                              total 1.89
1 dt pepsi lime                  2.98    reg price 4.69    
savings 1.71                              total 2.98
1 dt mtn dew                    2.98    reg price 4.69   
savings 1.71                              total 2.98
1 cherry pepsi                   2.98   reg price  4.69   
savings 1.71                              total 2.98
3@2.50 fiber one              7.50   reg price 10.47  
savings 2.97    coupons 2.00     total  8.47
2@.99 can pears              1.89    reg price 3.78     
savings 1.80                              total 1.89
3@.99 pudding                 2.97   reg price 4.47     
savings 1.50                              total 1.89
2@.89 peaches                1.78    reg price 1.78                                                    
   total 1.78
4@.89 pringles                 3.56  reg price 6.76      
savings 3.20  coupon 1.00           total 2.20
4@.99 ravioli                    3.96   reg price 5.56     
savings1.60                                total 3.96
2@2.89 pace                    5.78   reg orice 5.78                     
      coupon 1.00          total 4.78
2@1.89 taco sauce           3.78   reg price 3.78                        
   coupon 1.00         total2.78
2@2.00 frz corn                4.00   reg price 4.00                         
  coupon 1.20         total 1.60
1@2.00 frz broc chz          2.00   reg price 2.00                        
   coupon 1.20         total .80
3@.99 lunchable                2.97   reg price 6.87   
  savings 3.90                               total 2.97
1shrp chdr                         .99     reg price 2.89    
  savings 1.90                               total .99
1 string cheese                    3.00   reg price 4.39     
savings 1.39     coupon .80        total 2.20
         TOTALS              55.10                 74.63            
     24.91           8.20                 46.96

2@2.99 qkr bar              5.98  reg price 5.98                          
        coupon 2.00     total 3.98
1 Gatorade                      1.59  reg price 1.59                            
      coupon 1.00     total .59
2@2.45  progresso          2.45  reg price 2.45                              
    coupon 1.00     total 1.45
trky breast                       0.00  reg price 7.99   
  savings 7.99                                    total 0.00
lil sizzlers                         0.00   reg price 1.49   
  savings 1.49                                   total  0.00
pepperoni                        3.79   reg price 3.79                                 
  coupon 1.10    total   2.69
deli slect trky                   3.99   reg  price 3.99                                 
  coupon .70      total 3.29
cooks ham                      20.21  reg price 20.21                                                       
  total 20.21
eggs                                0.00    reg price 1.58      
savings 1.58                                 total 0.00
      TOTALS                 35.66            49.07               
11.06                     5.80                32.21

Veggie Tale fruit                1.50     reg price 2.09     
savings .59                                  total 1.50
Choc Cheer'o                    3.69    reg price 3.69                                
  coupon 1.00    total 2.69
cin chex                             2.29     reg price 2.99     
savings .70           coupon 1.00    total 1.29
 choc chex                         2.29      reg price 2.99     
savings .70           coupon 1.00    total 1.29
hny nut cheer'o                  2.29      reg price 2.99     
savings .70           coupon .31     total 1.98
chwy bars                         3.49       reg price 3.49                               
   coupon 1.10  total 2.39
rld gold pretzel                 2.50        reg price 2.99     
savings .49           coupon 1.10   total 1.40
fudge shop                       2.49        reg price 3.49     
savings 1.00        coupon .51     total 1.98
3@ 2.59progresso           7.77        reg price 7.77                               
  coupon 1.50   total 6.27
fisher nuts                         4.55        reg price 4.55                               
  coupon 2.00   total 2.55
frz chix breast                   8.99        reg price  8.99                              
   coupon 4.22  total 4.77
bacon                               5.79       reg price 5.79                                  
coupon 3.30   total 2.49
ribs                                  4.99        reg price 5.99      
  savings 1.00       coupon 2.00   total 2.99
TOTALS                    52.63              57.81                    
    5.18                 19.04            33.59

2@4.19  fiber 1 cer       8.38          reg price 8.38                                                  
     total 8.34
coco puffs                     2.99         reg price  2,99                                
   coupon 1.25  total 1.74
cheero's                        3.69         reg price 3.69                                  
  coupon 1.31   total 2.38
2@2.89 chwy bar        5.78         reg price 5.78                                  
coupon 1.25   total 4.53
club crks                      2.49         reg price 3.99          
savings 1.50        coupon 2.00   total .49
cookies                        2.49         reg price3.49             
savings 1.00       coupon .51     total 1.98
chili                              2.39        reg price 2.39                                      
coupon  1.00  total 1.39
prez snacks                  3.69        reg price 3.69                                     
coupon 2.00    total 1.69
2@2.29 ice cream       4.58        reg price 6.78       
     savings 2.20     coupon 3.21     total 1.38
cool whip                   1.99          reg price1.99                                                            
   total 1.99
truffles                        3.99         reg price 3.99                                   
    coupon2.00      total 1.99
frz chix breast            8.99          reg price 8.99                                      
  coupon 4.22    total 4.77
bacon                         5.79        reg price 5.79                                       
  coupon 3.30   total 2.49
2@3.00 hot dog         6.00        reg price 9.18            
   savings 3.18                              total 6.00
sure deo                   1.99          reg price 2.49              
  savings .50         coupon 2.00   total -.01
bananas                   1.04          reg price 1.04                                                              
   total 1.04
salad 2@1.69          3.38         reg price 3.38                                                                
  total 3.38
2@ 3.89 OJ            7.78         reg price 8.58               
  savings .80        coupon 2.00      total 5.78
2@2.50 go-gurt      5.00         reg price5.98                 
  savings .98         coupon 2.00     total 3.00

TOTALS                82.52          91.49                          
10.16                    28.05              54.34

                             225.91        273.00                           
51.31                    61.09              167.10

      GRAND SAVINGS OF $105.90
plus I have .70 off per gal of gas because of the fuel perks program AND on the back of the slip there are coupons for .05 off per gallon of gas.

A few notes on this project:
1. I rarely read my food slips closely but there are 2 costly mistakes I found. One was I had grapes that were .99 a pound ring up at 2.29 a pound. (going back to complain) The Fiber One cereal didn't scan for a 1.00 off a box which made it UBER expensive.
2. As you can see the kids went shopping on this trip and added in a few "bonus items" which made the savings a bit less
3. You may be asking yourself what is she going to make with all that random stuff? Well really thins was a fill the cupboards trip with a few meals. I will have to buy things along the way to be able to use everything I bought in meals....aka there was no meal planning involved.
4. I have spent way to much time on coupon's today... it is now 2am!
5. A huge Thank You to my husband Keith who took the kids and my crazy lists and did his best at fulfilling my crazy envelopes while I worked.

Keith's tip: go early to get the best selection on sale items on coupon days.

Final thought... well at least we won't smell because they paid us .01 to take deodorant off their hands!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Food savings

To get back to my original plan of talking about how we save money on everyday purchases... tomorrow is a great day to buy your groceries at Rainbow. Wednesday's are double coupon days! Here are the basic rules for rainbow double days:
1. The coupon must be worth $1.00 or less (doubled $2.00 or less)
2. The first 5 coupons you give the cashier will be the doubled ones
3. Store coupons and manufacturer coupons can both be doubled
4. If the coupon says "do not double" it will not double
5. If you print them from the internet they must be in black and white and have a bar code. (the whole coupon has to be there)
6. The shelf price of the total items must be $25.00 or more
 7. Buy one get one or try this free coupons are not able to be doubled. 

So here is my strategy:
1. I go threw my coupons and see if any of them expire this week.
2. I go threw the rainbow ad and see if there as any on sale products I can match up with coupons for free or nearly free items.
3. Next I make envelopes. I pick 5 coupons to be doubled for that envelope and I write them on the outside of the envelope and then I list a few other things some I have small coupons for or things that might be on sale but the goal is to make the RETAIL / SHELF price equal $25.00. I make 5-10 envelopes worth of shopping lists.
4. When I go shopping I go in and out as many times as I have envelopes.
5. Lastly don't forget to search the internet for coupons on any items you many need for the week.

Right now Rainbow is also running double coupons on Saturday and this week they are doubling 10 coupons on Wednesday.

The first couple of times it takes some time to get into the swing of things but once you get it you will be amazed at how much you can save on your food budget by using double coupons at Rainbow.

My other money saver is shopping at Aldi's. Aldi's is especially great for produce but it is a very different shopping experience. The very first thing is you need a quarter (not .25 cents) to get a cart. But don't worry you will get it back. You also have to buy your shopping bags so I suggest bringing your own. You might not know the brand names at Aldi because they are all Canadian brands or privately labeled to keep the cost down. I highly suggest trying many of their foods and taking advantage of the ready to eat cheap produce. 

Share your coupon, Aldi or food saving success story!

Happy shopping... and cheap eating!

ETA: rainbow has changed the rule about your total of your bill. Now that they are doing 10 double coupons your total AFTER coupons has to be $25.00. So if you get down checking out and you haven't hit your $25.00 grab a gift card and add it to you order then use it on your next envelope/ order.

Welcome to the "system"

Saturday Keith and I received a letter that has summoned us to court next Tuesday. Why you ask? Because Ryan is a truant student. We got this letter stating we could be fined or have jail time blah blah blah and I figured no big deal this has to be a mistake. I will call school on Monday. I called yesterday and the truant officer doesn't have voice mail so I left a paper message but didn't get a call back so I emailed Ryan's teacher asking where this lady's office was because today I was going to show up at her door and get an explanation. Well the threat to show up worked I got a call first thing this morning. Except I didn't get the explanation I was looking for. You see every time Ryan has missed school I have emailed his teacher, just like I had been told to do. Well really you have to call the "absent hot line" everyday the child misses school and the child must have a handwritten note restating the reason for absent on the first day back or it is not an excused absent.

What happens now? Well we first go to court. Hopefully I have a copy of every email I ever sent to his teacher. Then hopefully there will be no fines or jail time but most of the time a social worker from the child protective agency will be assigned to your child and will make a few home visits before we are release from the "system"

I don't know if I should scream or cry! and if I should scream who should it be at? 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Munchkin Market is coming

The Munchkin Market is another piece of 20/20 and it is fast approaching. The Munchkin Market is a kids consignment sale that happens for three weekend's every spring and fall. This a great place to sell all your kids old stuff and get new-to-you stuff. if you need baby / kid equipment the prices and quality can't be beat!  New mom's and those that consign get in early on Friday night to shop before the public. Visit the website for more information

This year the spring dates are:
April 17 & 18 at the MN State Fair
April 24 & 25 at the Anoka County Fairgrounds
May 1 & 2 at the Washington County Fairgrounds

You can find more information here:

note to self: don't put the tubs of kids clothes in the shed that is snow and iced over.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's in your bed?

I remember the days when it was just my bed and my blanket. This morning I woke up with a hockey puck, a mini metal slinky, and a bike helmet.... yes a bike helmet! Em was up at 6am again this morning and I guess she thought a great place to hide the toys Ryan wanted was in my bed under my blanket between my head and my knees. The slinky scared me, the puck hurt, and the helmet flat out freaked me out and got me out of bed. So much for mom's day to sleep in!

For the record tonight Ryan is sleeping with about 25 small lego's, a squirt gun, 2 blankets, 2 pillows, a body pillow and a duplo truck. Might as well sleep on a bed of nails... Lego's hurt!

Emmalee is sleeping with so much stuff I can't find her! She has a body pillow, 2 bed pillows. small Veggie Tales pillow, 7 princess dolls, 3 full size blankets, her blankie (aka: the rag) 4 other baby blankets randomly placed, a huge dumbo, a huge stitch, and a back rest. This was just what I could see with out lifting the covers... I am too scared to know what all is in there.  Oh, and I failed to mention "Desiree the Dino" her pink, singing and dancing Dino that randomly plays "please don't stop the music" through the baby monitor all night long. awww, nothing makes you sit straight up and feel like the bad music gang is breaking into your house like Desiree the singing and dancing Dino!

So who is ready for a sleepover?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

deals, steals, and free meals (part 1)

I am often told "you always find the deals" or "how do you do ____ for so little money?" I thought I would share a few of my hot spots, tips and rules for saving.

For years I have been living on plastic and now I have made it my goal to be 100% debt free and have a years pay in savings as well as life insurance and college savings accounts by 2020. I call my mission 20/20 vision! So far we are doing well. In four months we paid 10,000 in debts, lived well, and I am still unemployed. (It makes me sick to think what I could have done / and where my full time pay went.)

When I started mission 20/20 there were a few things I had to come to terms with. 1. I am not "to good" to go anywhere. 2. Not everything in my house has to be top of the line brand new. 3. Wear it out or use it up before you toss it out. 4. Everything has a value, stop giving everything away and start selling them. 5. If you can't buy it with cash you don't NEED it.

Next I had to do some research.
1. I joined sunshine rewards, a website that pays you for shopping, taking survey's and playing games. I HIGHLY suggest you join too This wesite saved us 300.00 on airfare alone on our last Disney trip. Plus I love being able to shop online and know I am getting the best deal and then get paid for it on top of all of that!
2. On facebook I joined the group "Pocket Your Dollars" Carrie lives in the twin cites and is committed to saving even more money then me. Randomly during the day Pocket Your Dollars shows up in my news feed with a great offer. There is also a website for pocket your dollars but I prefer it in small doses on facebook.
3. I now get the newspaper on Sunday's for the coupons. The press offered me Wednesday,Thursday, Friday,and Sunday for 13.00 for 52 weeks.
4. I joined the "live like no one else" forum. This is a group people in debt digging their way out just like me.
5. I check the thrift stores before I go shopping.  

I will break this down even more in my next few blogs, but for now I need to go to bed so I can get up and go to work in the morning... another piece of my 20/20 plan.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lenten Update

I thought you all might like to know how well we are going on our Lenten goals ...

I am pleased to announce Emmalee has failed horribly at at giving up sleep. Thank you to the "slimers" in her nose and a daily dose of cold syrup she is back to sleeping threw the night. However she has officially given up naps (I think)

Last Thursday night we took Ryan to Wal-Mart to fix the clothing status. Yes, I know I work at Gymboree, but really who has $50.00 for an outfit? and have you seen the boys clothes? Not much green and for sure no Disney or Batman! We hit the jackpot! Jeans were on clearance for $7.00 a pair. (I bought for 2 sizes) and shirts for $5.00 galore. We now own plenty of Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, Batman and green shirts.

For me... well I am doing very well at spending money and sleeping very little.

Yea for Easter... please get here soon!

Zero the Hero

In case you didn't know it last week was the 100th day of school. This house was fully aware. At school Zero the Hero came to visit. Which meant the next morning we were awaken to Ryan standing on our bed saying you have to get up early to be a hero. Oh, and you have to exercise! This was followed up by a series of push ups on the bed and then jumping jacks while screaming 10, 20, 30, 40....etc. I said no 1, 2, 3, 4....etc. and was quickly informed those aren't zero's hero numbers! If you ever wanted to know what it would feel like to sleep on a waterbed I highly suggest having a 100lb kid do jumping jacks on your bed. Needless to say our hero succeed in turning all of us into hero's by getting up early.

As soon as I figure out how to post pictures I will post Ryan's picture with Zero the hero.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Emmalee's 3 year check up

Today I finally got around to em's 3 year check up... only 3 months late. One of the reasons I was kind of avoiding this appointment was this was the appointment that informed us the Ryan had "special needs" and we would have to start testing. The only reason we went now was because as Em put it... "Slimer moved into my nose!" so why not knock out two birds with one stone, right?

As we were called back to the room Emmalee turned up her charm and the batting of the eyelashes began. She weighted in at 38 pounds and measured 37 3/4. The first thing I thought was 2 and 1/4 more inches till she is 40in for Disney! (I am warped!)

Next it came to the eye chart. Suddenly Ryan's experience with this "test" flashed back to me. "he doesn't talk".... "no he can't tell you that is a circle" Em on the other had twirled a circle and said "no that's not a circle it is an "O" because there is no middle" needless to say she passed with flying colors. We got into the room and she pushed herself up onto the table like she was doing the vault event in the Olympics and the nurse said, "well I guess I don't have to test her upper body strength." She hopped down and we started more test's Ryan failed at.... and she soared at. The nurse said "Can you stand on one foot?" Not only does she stand on one foot she proves she could also be in the figure skating competition at the Olympics by sticking her arms out and her leg straight behind her. Her next figure skating move was twirling a few circles without falling on the ground. Finally came the big test to go for the gold ... could she jump with both feet off the floor. Success...and she had to show off that she could jump on one foot too.

The nurse left and gave her a pen to draw on the deli paper on the table. Emmalee left a nice picture of a rainbow, some clouds, her hand traced, and my hand traced. When the doctor came in he was very impressed.

Let me tell you about our doctor... well, you see he was MY doctor as a child. I am use to the normal routine of screaming at the poor old man who can no longer hear. Many of Ryan's doctor appointments went like this:
Dr: do you have any other concerns?
Me: yes, he isn't talking
Dr: He seems to be walking well to me
Me: no, TALKING while using my hand to illustrate talking
Dr: Oh I don't hear him talking, what is wrong with his talking?
I was so excited today to see he had hearing aids! one for each ear and a special stethoscope with increased volume. I few times I found myself talking slow and screaming. I am sure he thinks I am a crazy mom with mental issues!

As he examined her she was an angel no problems and perfectly healthy. Then started the mom questions:
Dr: have you started potty training?
Me: yes, done
Dr: does she wet the bed?
Me: nope never has
Dr: does she have a hard time going to bed?
Me: no she puts herself to bed at about 8:30
Dr: Is there anything she can't do
Me: nope, but I wish there was... like open the closet door so she can change her clothes 12 times a day!
Dr: so she dresses herself?
Me: yep
Dr: Do you have support in raising this child? mental, physical, financial?
Me: Huh? yes, she has a dad and my family lives close
Dr: Do you want papers on how to receive any government assistance during these tough times?
Me: nope we are fine
Dr: The nurse will be in shortly with her shot

a few minutes pass and the nurse comes in

I know the routine. Slap her down on the deli paper. Pull the pants down. Pin the arms. Then WAM she will be saying "that lady hurt me!" and she gets a sticker. I was right on except for one thing... she cried a tiny bit. She never cries. As the stab comes she says "ouchie, ouchie, ouchie and the tears started coming. Then she says "I need my special wampie" (grandpa) So, we left the office but stopped by the sticker station just one more time before going to get a special wampie kiss.

biggest successes of the day: She is healthy, She is Olympic bound for gymnastics or figure skating and oh ... I didn't cry!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I should have been fired for that

I recently read the blog of a man doing youth ministry for 40 years and he blogged all about the dumb things he had done in ministry that thankfully he hadn't been fired for. Which got me to thinking thank God I can't be fired for being a mom.

One of my favorite "mom should have been fired" stories is really about my best friend Angela and her son Jackson. Angela owned her own store front when Jackson was a baby. It was not uncommon to see Jack in his walker roaming the store on a daily basis. As you walked into the store it was a small ramp up to the store. One day Ang had a great idea to push Jack's walker down the ramp for a fun ride. She was smart enough to think to shut the front door before sending him down so he didn't roll right out into the street. However, she didn't think about the force of him rolling and slamming into the shut door...yep she should have been fired!

When Ryan was very little I had bought something at the thrift store that didn't fit in my car (surprised, I know) and I had to borrow my dad's truck. Well I started the truck to warm it up, tossed all my junk in the front seat, buckled Ry in his seat and went to go around to hop in only to find out the doors had locked with the keys in... and Ryan in. Yep, I locked my kid in a running car for 30 minutes.... I should have been fired!

Amazingly the day Emmalee should have fired me also happened in the car. She had just moved up from her baby carrier to her car seat. Keith told me he put the car seat in the the van. I thought he had buckled it all in... nope. Emmalee was safely strapped in her car seat as we took the turn at Dale and Minnehaha on our way to daycare when suddenly the whole seat went sideways and forward and landed wedged between the front seat and the seat next to her as she hung on to the straps holding her in. Needless to say Thank God the car seat straps worked and yes, I should have been fired!

So spill it... what should you have been fired for? or from?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why is it called Love and Laugh Everyday?

I have been asked a few times why is Love and Laugh Everyday the title of your blog? So I thought I might as well blog about it.

Yes, I do love my kids and they do make me laugh everyday but this summer it was really hard for me to love and laugh everyday and it was something I had to force myself to do. You see April 27th I lost my job as a full time youth minister in Edina. This was a job I gave my heart and soul to over and over. All though this was extremely painful it was nothing compared to what God has put on my plate since.

On May 29 my grandpa Krieger was admitted into the hospital for side effects of his radiation. I was so thankful to be able to visit him in the hospital and then at transitional care whenever I wanted and I never had to worry about work. On June 17 he left Good Sam's transitional care and moved into Rosewood Estates assisted living because we were told he had 6 months to live and this is where he wanted to be. This day I laughed! I never laughed so hard. More jokes were cracked in a one hour registration session then I think the staff had ever experienced. His first night in his new place he stayed alone and I came and gave him his meds at midnight. The next five days I spent every day and night with him. Sadly he didn't get his 6 months, he got 6 days that even thou they hurt I love those days. As he was dying he was reliving his whole life as a painter. Two of my most memorable laughs came when he asked me to paint. So I stood at the wall and fake painted but then he told me "you got your hair in the paint and the job won't be done in time now because you have to wash your hair" and When I was painting the wall maroon and again I was not doing a good job. The paint wasn't covering and I had got it on the trim so he told me it was time for me to "give up painting" On June 22, at 10:55pm he finally gave into his fight and past away.

I wish I could say that was the end of my hurting but it goes on. From here on my dates all get very fuzzed. About two weeks after my grandpa died I recived a phone call from my mom that went something like this: "Hey were going to stop at grandma's and bring her some ice cream because she doesn't feel well and hasn't eaten all day." I say, "Okay, call me when you done and let me know how she is." fifteen minutes pass and my dad calls "ya, grandma is really weak but we are going to tuck her into bed and she says she will be fine." I say, " just take her in to make sure." he says, "well we called the clinic and they said to take her to ER but she doesn't want to go" at the same time in the background I hear "Gene, I need your help" two minutes later dad calls back and says "she just blacked out so I called 911, you can come over if you want" I live very close to my grandma's apartment building and in fact I followed the medics and led them to where they were going. After many tests at United it was determined that I non-drinker had liver diease and was bleeding internally. She had never been to a hospital before or taken any medicine at age 91, in fact two days prior she drove to the store and picked up her groceries for the week. She was very scared at United so I stayed with her everyday and my mom stayed every night. After seven days they told us to take her home to die. So that's what we did. The day she came home she was walking and needed a small amount of help in the shower. Slowly she went downhill and nine days later, On July 24 at 5:47pm, she past away in her apartment right where she wanted to be. I have many days now where I wish I could hear her "give it to me straight" and make me laugh it off.

We joked that I needed a job because I was going out of the business of death. This was a very hard time on my entire family so I did what I do best. I planned a trip to Disney World for us four and my parents from November 4-14.

I few days before we left I got another dreaded phone call telling me grandma Krieger wasn't feeling well and it would be helpful if I could come out and convince her to go into the hospital. When I arrived I hear the words I was dreading for the first of many times that night "I am fine. I am not going anywhere." After much arguing we finally convinced her to go to St. John's. She had some test run we learned she had A-fib. (an irregular heart beat) Although she was very upset with us she had to stay the night for more tests and eventually a pace maker. A few days later she blacked out in the bathroom and when she was found by the nurse they did X-rays and learned she had cracked her neck. We left on our vacation and shortly after we left she moved into Good Sam's transitional care and was doing great. She had lost her back pain she had for so so many years, she was able to walk stairs, and she was really ready to live pain free. On our last night in Disney we had dinner in Japan and before our 75min dinner started I had texted with my aunt and learned grandma was released and they had to go threw the cub drive thru for meds. stop at the bank and Aldi's and then they would be home. As we finished our meal I checked my phone for the time and saw I had missed a call from my aunt by 10mins. By the time connection was made all we knew was that she had a massive heart attack at her front door and was not doing well. We flew home the next day and went straight to the hospital. She was on life support and still in her neck brace from her earlier fall. We learned the medics had paddled her back to life three times between when they got to her house and when they got her to St. John's. The family would have a very tough decision the next day. The decision was made to take her off life support and she died very peacefully on the morning of November 16. Watching a sports game is no loner as finny without her brilliant commentary and my body isn't as warm without her knitting.

I am so thankful for my grandparents. I am thankful I spent time with them, and I always told them I loved them. I am also thankful for my family who relive the stories with me so I can laugh, even on the tough days.

Who knows whats next on my plate but no matter what I know two things will always be on my plate love and laughter.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Goodbye Toon Town Fair

As many of you know I am obsessed with all things Disney. In fact in one point and time this whole blog was going to be dedicated to Disney. Well I scrapped the idea of doing all Disney all the time, but there are somethings I just must share.

Today is a very sad day for me, and yes I cried. (for real) Today Mickey's Toon Town Fair closes forever. I know your laughing at me... and I am okay with that.

Mickey's Toon Town Fair has not always been Toon Town Fair it was originally used for Mickey's 60th Birthday Party in 1988. There were no permnet buildings at the time just tents to make you feel like you were attending a special party. "Mickey's Birthdayland" helped attract people who were waiting just one more year (the year MGM, now Hollywood Studios would open) for their family vacation. Well it was such a success that the party couldn't stop after the 18 planned months of Mickey's 60th Birthday. (BTW this is the LAST birthday Mickey will ever celabrate. Disney doesn't want people to thing Mickey is old, rather he is cool hip and relevant) The area was then renamed Mickey's Starland in 1990. Starland was to be centered around the famous after school cartoon line up of Duck Tales, Gummi Bears, Goof Troop etc. At this point and time the number one complaint of guests was that they were not able to have a meet and greet with Mickey. At the same time guests were no longer visiting the Starland part of the park. So Disney had to make changes quickly.

Disney settled on the idea of Toon Town Fair were everything was bigger then life and centered around The Fab Five's trip to the county fair after growing all their veggies. Toon Town Fair opened on October 1,1996, the same year as Disney's World's 25th anniversary. As you first enter you see Pete's garage (aka the bathroom) with fine details including the drinking fountain hooked up to an oil can. Up to the right you can go to Goofy's Winsere Farm and help Goofy crop dust his plants in his plane that goes terrible wrong and ends up going right threw this barn. (This is a children's roller coaster) Across the street you can walk threw Minnie's Country House. This house is so much more to us crazy Disney people. All the pictures on the wall are cels of past animators who have past away. You can press Minnies answering machine and hear a very special message. As you leave Minnie's house and look across the street you will see Donald's boat (S.S Daisey) dry docked but springing water leaks out all over it. Right next to Minnie's House is Mickey's Country House which again is filled with great Disney details and special additions. Once you are out the back door and into Mickey's garden you are only feet away from Mickey's judging tent and your chance for a Meet and Greet. Here is where so many dreams come true.

You maybe thinking "thanks for the history lesson ... and why did you cry about this?" Well here is why: January 1997 was my very first trip to Disney World. Toon Town was only 4 months old and I can still remember walking threw both Mickey and Minne's houses with my dad behind me with the video camera. We were all in awe of the awesomeness. I clearly remember waiting in line in the judging tent watching the cheesy cartoons. Then the doors opened and Mickey was standing there in his overalls with a giant blue ribbon pinned on him. I chocked back my tears and knew I would never forget that moment. October 2002 was my honeymoon and as Keith and I left the judging tent I was holding in my tears, (again) The Walt Disney World Express steam train pulled up and blew his whistle at the same time my dad called to see if I had met Mickey yet and I couldn't hold back the tears anymore. I sat on a bench and cried my eyes out because I was drowning in everything Disney and I couldn't be happier. I had these same feelings the first time I took Ryan, Emmalee, and my nephew Dylan to meet Mickey. My other memory from Toon Town is Ryan on the Barnstormer. He was so scared of the roller coaster. I can still hear Ryan's deep uncontrollable laugh from the first time Keith and Ryan rode the Barnstormer and his fist words were "can we do it again right now?" When we took Ryan for his free before three trip Keith and ryan rode this ride over and over. On our last trip in November Ryan had no interest in the Barnstormer but rather rode Everest at Animal Kingdom. Sadly Em was a bit short to ever be able to ride the Barnstormer.

I know Disney always does bigger and better but I hope when I go back in 2012 (when all the toon town / fantasyland changes will be complete) I will be able to create new wonderful memories in new amazing lands.

Good Bye Toon Town... Thanks for the great memories.

Disney Trivia of the day: How many Steam engines are at the Magic Kingdom? Can you name the steam train(s) at the Magic Kingdom? The answers will be in the next blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday / Lent

Today begins the wonderful season of Lent. Historically people give up something to remind you of Christ's suffering's. Well both kids decide they are old enough to give something this year.

Emmalee choose sleep. As of day one she is doing great! She was up at 1:00am asking to watch "her movie called UP" and at 4:30 she came and stood next to the bed and shouted "cock-a-doodle-do mama" I tried to get her to lay down with me in bed but she is such a great Christian she didn't want to give in on the first day of Lent. Needless to say I was not planning on giving up sleep but may have to due to default. For the record she is currently running around in her swimsuit just like any other normal day so I am not so sure this is a sacrifice for her but I can promise you this is a huge sacrifice for me.

Ryan choose to give up his clothes. No, he didn't go to school naked but it was pretty close this morning. It went something like this:
Me: "Ry put your jeans on"
Ry: put his jeans on
Me: "why do you have them pulled up so high"
Ry: "I don't mama, I growed"
Me: "okay try these"
Ry: puts his jeans on
Me"button them up"
Ry: "I did"
Me: "come here let me make them as tight as possible with the elastic tabs. Okay what about this polo shirt?'
Ry: "Ya, (2 secs later) OUCH!"
Me: "what's wrong?"
Ry: "My head doesn't fit"
Me: "Oh sorry I didn't unbutton it (2 secs later) Oh, I did, I guess it doesn't fit"
Me: "What about this t-shirt?"
Ry: "Ya!"
Me: "nevermind your showing your bellybutton off"
Ry: "I can't just wear yesterday's"
Me: "no, try this button up dress shirt"
Ry: "It fits mama and my other shirts need to be sold to the other kids"

Thank God his socks and undies fit!

He got his snow pants on just fine but as I went to put his jacket on he said, "this one hurts my tummy on the bus. Can I wear a different one?" I am guessing when he sits this jacket is getting to tight around his stomach. I opened the front closet and the first one hanging there was a jacket I bought for him for next year. I bought it 2 weeks ago from Macy's during the "Go Red Sale" for $8.10. (still very proud of this purchase) Any way I tried it on him and it fit perfectly! It is TWO sizes bigger then his last jacket. Oh and I should add it is the same jacket as his old jacket because the world can only make so many green jackets. I would say Ryan is also an outstanding Christian seeing on day one he manged to give up 1 pair of jeans, two shirts, and a winter jacket.

As a good Christian I will give up plenty of money and suffer too this Lenten season as I am up all hours of the day and night shopping online for clothes for Ryan.

Thank God Easter is in six weeks!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Daytime TV

Emmalee has been home with Keith and I everyday since November and I admit about 90% of the time the TV is on. One of Em's favorite shows is Ellen. I have over heard her telling Ellen to "shake her booty butt" and scream "HI Ellen! I Emmy! I ova here!" as she waves wildly 2 inches from the TV screen and yes we hit pause on Ellen when she needs a potty break. I thought the worst thing she would pick up would be Ellen's habit of scaring people in the bathroom. However, I never thought about the commercials. Last week I caught her singing "Paw America is right for you, paw America" over and over. Then this morning with her hands on her hips she told Keith "We can approve your loan today" (of course pointing right at him by the time she hit the end of her sales pitch.) If she starts singing the 5-dollar foot long song or saying "You are NOT the father" I might have to re-think our daytime TV.